Take in the verdant surroundings of this Buddhist site also known as "the hydrangea temple."
Once the base of the powerful Hiraga family of the Genji clan, Hondoji has been a place of Nichiren Buddhism since the 13th century.
At its height, Hondoji was as important as the major temples of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture. Nowadays, it attracts both pilgrims and scores of garden enthusiasts.
Each season, the temple complex presents a different canvas of color, from cherry blossoms and magnolias in spring and 50,000 blooming hydrangeas in June to spider lilies in autumn and fiery maples in late November.
This trip to the suburbs of Matsudo City includes a multicourse lunch of Japanese delicacies.